In time for spring, the billboard is about change. The imagery changes
as drivers pass by it. The initial image of an assembly line/freeway
of people disappears to be replaced by a brightly colored leaping figure.
Why 2 images in 1?
Change of state – motion and metamorphosis – a transformation.
Movies achieve change through a succession of frames over TIME. In
sequential art, (i.e. comic books) change occurs between frames separated
by SPACE. But on a billboard? The solution = SPACE + TIME. Make use
of the fact that people are driving by to transform the image.
Detroit geography advantageous – spokes on a grid. 60º intersections
make illusion possible. Initial image persists until finally right alongside
it 2ndary image appears in a flash of color and just as quickly disappears
Primary visual is of human assembly lines/human expressways –
sleepwalkers. This imagery is prevalent throughout history from Giovanni
Piranesi’s 18th century prison-scapes to endless fields of sleeping
humans in The Matrix films to the Borg of Star Trek, in which the human
is fully subsumed by the machine, possessing a single mind and no capacity
for individual thought.
Henry Ford had this to say of his workers: “They want to be led…”
and furthermore the average worker “wants a job in which he does
not have to think.”
I reject this viewpoint. We are complex, beautiful creatures –
this must not be forgotten. The second image stands in contrast to the
first: bright, in motion, alive. Potential energy made kinetic. An expression
of joy – a glimmer of possibility often obscured.
Can art awaken something dormant within us?
Nick Sousanis - April 2004